According to a report at Forbes Jun-Hyuk Bang, founder of mobile gaming company Netmarble, may soon become South Korea’s newest billionaire. Based on the company’s financial results and the performance of the online and mobile gaming industry, Forbes estimates Bang’s net worth at nearly USD 980 million as of June 3.
The company, a developer of games such as Marvel: Future Flight and Disney Magical Dice, recorded USD 950 million in sales last year, a huge jump from USD 344 million in 2014. Net income also increased, from USD 40 million to USD 149 million. Bang’s stake in Netmarble is just over 32%.
Bang founded Netmarble as an online gaming company in March 2000 and in three years had 20 million users. The company entered the mobile market in 2004 and won the backing of Japan’s Softbank as well as a subsidiary of South Korean conglomerate CJ Group.
Bang is now among five self-made gaming entrepreneurs each worth at least USD 900 million, a change for a country known for chaebol wealth—massive fortunes built by South Korea’s family-run conglomerates. The other four, also all founders, are Kwon Hyuk-Bin of Smilegate, Kim Jung-Ju of Nexon, Kim Taek-Jin of NCSoft and Lee Joon-Ho of NHN Entertainment.
More recently it attracted Chinese Internet giant Tencent, which invested more than USD 500 million in the company in 2014. However, the second-largest shareholder, according to the company’s latest annual report, is CJ E&M, with just over a 31% stake.
The company says it is eyeing an initial public offering in the near future and has plans to expand into Western markets. Last year it invested USD 130 million in California-based Social Gaming Network, a mobile-gaming platform that produced titles such as Cookie Jam, Juice Jam, Book of Life: Sugar Smash.
Source and first seen at: Forbes